Urban farming is on the rise in Baltimore
Farm Alliance of Baltimore City has a current membership of about eight urban farms.
By Andrea Appleton
May 16, 2012
Urban farming is hotter than a home-grown habanero these days, and Baltimore’s abundant vacant lots are perfect for homesteaders. Small urban farms have proliferated recently, though city government has only just begun to streamline regulations governing them. Nearly a dozen—perhaps more—are already in operation. “Right now the people doing it are slightly crazy—you sort of have to be to do it,” says Maya Kosok, an Open Society Institute Community Fellow who this winter formed an umbrella organization called the Farm Alliance of Baltimore City (facebook.com/farmalliance), with a current membership of about eight urban farms. “It’s really hard. A lot of the resources aren’t in one place.”
The Alliance—through the auspices of local nonprofit Civic Works—is seeking to change that. It has two main goals: making urban farms in the city more viable and making sure the food they produce is more accessible to residents. Starting June 9, member farms will have a shared stand at the Waverly Farmers Market, and the organization is crafting a set of farm standards covering everything from soil quality to food handling. The collective approach also allows the farms to share equipment they otherwise could not afford, like an EBT/debit/credit machine, which accepts food stamps.